MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Sep 8, 2014) - (Family Features) Snacks are a common aspect of most Americans' daily diets. Although you may feel like stealing nibbles between meals is a guilt-worthy offense, making smart snacking choices can actually contribute to a healthy eating plan. 

According to a recent survey conducted by ORC International, snacking is as American as apple pie. Nearly all Americans (98 percent) have snacked at least once in the last two weeks, and the majority consumes one to two snacks every day.

You may be surprised to learn that these habits are actually supported by leading health experts. According to staff at The Mayo Clinic, most well-planned diets allow for snacks between meals to help fight hunger. Numerous other experts advocate snacks as a way to manage food intake throughout the day, which keeps your metabolism running strong and helps you avoid over-eating at any one meal.

If you're like the majority of participants in the recent snacking survey, calories, portability and nutritional content, such as protein and fiber, are top considerations when choosing a snack.

Moderation and balance are also important to successful snacking. To be sure you're never caught without a smart snacking option, consider these snacking survival tips:

  • Look for snacks that combine food groups for an extra nutrition punch. For example, pair a low-fat dairy product, such as yogurt or cottage cheese, with fresh fruit for a tasty and satisfying treat.

  • Don't sacrifice calories for convenience. Many on-the-go bars are loaded with sugar and lack overall nutrition, but there are smart alternatives. Baked with pieces of real fruit and non-genetically modified ground whole soybeans, SOYJOY® is an all-natural, certified gluten-free snack bar available in seven delicious flavors. Each bar offers the perfect combination of carbohydrates, plant-based protein and fiber for only 130-140 calories.

  • When you need a little more to fill you up, opt for high-fiber and high-water foods. These options let you eat more volume without loading up the calories. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts are all good choices when you're feeling extra hungry. Try 1/2 cup shelled edamame for a convenient, high-fiber snack.

  • Keep quick, low-calorie snacks on hand. A large apple, three and a half cups of popcorn or a large handful of almonds (about 23) are all under 150 calories. The key is doing the math and measuring ahead of time so you're not tempted to make a less healthy choice when you're crunched for time and hunger strikes.

  • Manage your sweet tooth with better-for-you snack options. Every diet has room for indulgences once in a while, but save those for special occasions. When you're craving something sweet, fruit can often appease your taste buds. Reach for frozen bananas, grapes or even a baked apple sprinkled with cinnamon.

For more delicious snacking tips and recipes, visit www.soyjoy.com, like SOYJOY on Facebook and follow @SOYJOYUS on Twitter.

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Vickie Rocco